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Plant Sciences Division

Overview | Missions and goals | Competencies | People | Area of research | Facilities | Current research | Projects

Plants produce an array of small organic molecules, the secondary metabolites of diverse structures. Many of these natural products display interesting pharmacological activities and therefore find use as phytomedicines and nutraceuticals. The Western Himalayn region is unique in terms of its range of climatic and geographic conditions, favoring diversification of flora. For obvious reasons, the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh is rich storehouse of medicinal, aromatic and other economic plants. The plant sciences division of CSIR-IIIM is carrying out research studies of basic and applied value on medicinal and aromatic plants by using tools of different disciplines of biology such as taxonomy, ecology, ethonobotany, biochemistry and plant physiology, plant molecular biology and computational biology.



Documentation of plant biodiversity and development of database of medicinal and aromatic plants.
Enrichment of Janaki Ammal Herbarium (acronym RRLH) and crude drug repository with new plants .
Discovery of new phytochemicals as well as finding newer uses of existing plant natural products for human health.
Conservation of plant varieties with desired properties and development of agrotechniques for their large scale propagation.
Investigation of chemical ecology of medicinal and aromatic plants and the role of plant secondary metabolites.
To develop protocols for tissue culture and genetic transformation for medicinal and aromatic plants.
To understand the biochemical and molecular basis of biosynthesis of secondary metabolites in medicinal and aromatic plants .
To develop plant varieties with desired chemical profile through intervention of genetic engineering.
Synthetic biology for metabolic engineering of microbes for the production of high-value secondary metabolites.
Plant-based production of therapeutic proteins


Surveys, collection, bio-resource mapping, monitoring and evaluation of biodiversity coupled with EIA.
Ecological, taxonomical and molecular profiling and identity of plants and animal (benthos) communities.
Resourcing of quality raw materials (plants) for natural products and other bioactive molecules.
Traditional knowledge investigation through ethnobotanical and cultural aspects.
Experimental trials and extension of high value medicinal and aromatic plants in different agro-climatic ecosystems.
Two internationally recognized referral centers (1) Janaki Ammal Herbarium (acronym RRLH), and (2) Crude Drug Repository of raw and synthetic drugs derived from plant sources and their online database.
Bioprospecting biodiversity (plants, benthos, microbes) with state-of-the-art chemical/ biotechnological tools.
Conservation biology like ex-situ conservation, response to habitat change, genotype characterization, reproductive biology and adaption biology.
In vitro micropropagation and other techniques of plant tissue culture, In vitro secondary metabolite production, genetic transformation of plants for transgenic plant development.
Expertise for plant biochemicals and molecular (DNA markers) evaluation of plants.
Tools of plant physiology and biochemistry to study photosynthesis, pigments, C and N metabolism and enzyme activity assays.
Tools of  molecular biology like cloning (conventional cloning, Gateway Cloning, Golden Gate assembly), plant expression construct preparation, homologous and heteologous expression of genes in plants, recombinant protein expression in plants and microbes, enzyme activity assays, Over-expression and suppression of genes in plants, genome editing, genetic transformation of model systems (Arabidopsis and N. tabacum).
Tools of bioinformatics and computational biology such as analysis of next-generation sequencing data of transcriptome and genome, gene network analysis and ecological modelling.


S/NO Name Expertise E-mail
1. Dhiraj Vyas Plant physiology and biochemistry, Chemical ecology dvyas[at]iiim[dot]res[dot]in
2. Sumit G. Gandhi Plant and microbial secondary metabolism, genomics and synthetic biology sumit[at]iiim[dot]res[dot]in
3. Suphla Gupta Tissue culture, Proteomics and Functional genomics sgupta[at]iiim[dot]res[dot]in
4. Sumeet Gairola Plant systematics, bioprospection, ecology and conservation of medicinal plants, ethnomedicine. sumeetgairola[at]iiim[dot]res[dot]in
5. Prashant Misra Plant Molecular Biology, Functional genomics, Plant transgenics pmisra[at]iiim[dot]res[dot]in
6. Bikarma Singh Botany, Plant systematics (taxonomy of higher plants), ethnobotany, plant ecology, tissue culture, bioprospection, climate change evaluation and monitoring of biodiversity drbikarma[at]iiim[dot]res[dot]in
7. Ravail Singh

Benthic invertebrate biology, marine and freshwater ecosystem functioning,           bioinformatics,   data   analysis, programming    

8. Firdoous Ahmad Mir Plant Tissue Culture, conservation, bioprospection of plants and genetic transformation firdosmir[at]iiim[dot]res[dot]in
9. Srinivas Kota

Plant Biotechnology (tissue culture/ chloroplast transformation/ transgenic)

10. Madan Lal Supporting role in herbarium and crude drug repository madanchatha[at]gmail[dot]com
11. Sabnam Khan Supporting role in experimental farm skhan[at]iiim[dot]res[dot]in
12. Kiran Koul Supporting role in value addition centre kirankoul[at]iiim[dot]res[dot]in
13. Yadunandan Sen Supporting role in tissue culture facility sn.yadu[at]iiim[dot]res[dot]in

Area of research
Bio-resource mapping, monitoring and evaluation of biodiversity.
Ecological, taxonomical and molecular profiling and identity of plants and animal (benthos) communities.
Conservation, characterization of germplasm for morphological & agronomic traits, and field evaluation using molecular tools for selected medicinal plants.
Investigation of traditional knowledge associated with medicinal plants and their biological functions.
Molecular characterization of germplasm for assessment of genetic diversity for resolving taxonomical problems at genus / species and subspecies/ variety level.
Understanding the molecular basis of regulation of biosynthesis of secondary metabolites in plant glandular trichomes.
Investigation of molecular basis of natural product biosynthesis in important medicinal and aromatic plants.
Development of transcriptome resource of important medicinal and aromatic plants through next-generation sequencing.
Biochemical, physiological and adaptation biology studies on medicinal and aromatic plants.
Tissue culture of medicinal and aromatic plants.
Role of endophytes in modulation of natural product biosynthesis.
To understand the role of plant natural products in ecological interactions of plants with insects and nematodes (Chemical ecology and ecological modeling).
Genetic engineering and genome editing of plants for therapeutic protein production.

Facilities (departmental)

  • Janaki Ammal Herbarium houses more than 24200 specimens representing 3265 species. This facility is used by scientists from academia, research scholars & herbal drug Industry as a ready reference for the authentication of plants. It is recognized internationally and is registered in Index herbariorum at New York, U.S.A under the acronym RRLH.

  • Herbal Drug Repository contains more than 4200 crude drug samples of authenticated parts of the plants, used in Indian traditional system of medicine. This referral facility is accessible to pharmaceutical industry, traders, medicinal practitioners, natural product chemists, students and academics and provides ready material for laboratory scale experiments.

  • Experimental Farms at different altitudes in Jammu, Srinagar, Bonera, Yarrikha and Leh offer unique opportunity to conduct field trials on tropical, subtropical and temperate climate plants. Large scale cultivation of plants as and when required can also be carried out.

  • Well equipped molecular biology labs

  • Lab for plant physiology and biochemistry

  • Plant tissue culture facility

  • Glass house facility for growing plants in controlled environment

  • Walk-in Plant growth chamber for growing plants in controlled environment

Current research
Systematics and biodiversity assessment of Western Himalayan flora.
Ethnobotanical studies on the plants of Western Himalaya.
Ecology and conservation biology of Rare, Endangered, and Threatened (RET) medicinal plants.
Industrially relevant high value Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (agrotechnology development and technology transfer to farmers).
Collection and Identification of benthic Invertebrates.
Ecological modeling in terms of functional traits of plant and their ecological significance.
Plant-nematode interaction ecology with  medicinal plants.
Glandular trichome biology in the context of understanding the regulation of trichome localized secondary metabolism.
Elucidation of molecular regulation of secondary metabolite biosynthesis in medicinal and aromatic plants plants (Dysoxylum binectariferum, Coleus forskohlii, Cannabis sativa, Monarda citriodora, Cymbopogan sp. and Ocimum sp.).
Molecular biology, physiology and biochemistry of Cannabis sativa.
Elucidation of transporters of secondary metabolites in medicinal and model plants.
Biochemical and physiological studies to understand chemical ecology of glucosinolates and their degradation products.
Development of protocols for in vitro culture and micropropogation of rare and endagenered medicinal plants.
Development of protocols for genetic transformation in important medicinal plants.
Crispr-Cas based genome editing in Nicotiana tabacum in the context of therapeutic protein production.
Role of endophytes in modulation of  secondary metabolites in medicinal plants.

Understanding the Role of Redox Regulations in Plant-Insect Interactions Mediated through Glucosinolates. (DST-SERB)
Morphological and biochemical assessment of selected Cannabis genotypes at CSIR-IIIM. (Ms/- Boheco)
Biotechnology of medicinal and aromatic plants (MLP-3012/CSIR)
Chemistry & Plant Biotechnology of Phytocanabinoids from Cannabis sativa (MLP-1001/CSIR)
Glycoengineering of Nicotiana tabacum using CRISPR Cas based genome editing: Glyco-optimization for humanized therapeutic protein production in plants (GAP2167/DBT-funded)
Collection of plant resources from selected ecological niches for novel bioactivities (MLP 1007).
Advance Phase of industry-sponsored CIPA Herbal Dengue product project (CNP 1313)
Plant endophytes for enhancing secondary metabolite production and plant productivity in Glycyrrhiza glabra and Coleus forskohlii (CSIR)
Optimization and preparation of RT-LAMP Kit for molecular diagnosis of COVID-19 (CSIR)
Setting up of platform for screening of inhibitors of SARS-CoV2 RdRp and TMPRSS2 (CSIR)
Understanding the role of forskolin in physiology of Coleus forskohlii (CSIR)
Development of functional genomics plateform in Cannabis (CSIR)